Facebook’s photo viewer is getting a big update. Starting today, it will automatically display photos in the highest resolution possible, which on large monitors could mean images up to four times larger than before.
You’ll also be able to view photos in fullscreen mode. If you’re using Chrome or Firefox, all you have to do is click on the arrows in the top right corner of any photo and it will expand to the size of your screen.
This comes after Facebook’s last photo viewer update in February, which put comments, buttons and ads on the right side of every photo so you didn’t have to scroll down to see them. The company was criticized for aping Google+’s design — which, of course, it was — but in the end it turned out to be a big win for the company after people realized how much more convenient it was.
Allowing users to view photos in higher resolution seems less controversial. Sure, it might put a strain on Facebook’s servers, but the truth is most people are uploading low resolution camera phone pictures anyway. I doubt allowing users to post full-sized Instagram photos on their walls will create much of a problem.
It will be interesting to see how corporate Facebook pages utilize this new ability. As I wrote before, some companies like the New York Times really took advantage of the new Timeline while others did not. The idea of big media companies creating rich, full-sized photo galleries on Facebook certainly seems like a good way to augment their Timeline presence.